Photo by the World Health Organization
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Africa region has officially been certified free from wild poliovirus, signifying a major milestone in the battle to eradicate the disease worldwide. The full story is on the Rotary Great Britain & Ireland website: www.rotarygbi.org
This progress is the result of a decades-long effort across the 47 countries which make up the WHO’s African region and now means that five of the six WHO regions, which represent 90% of the world’s population, will be free of wild polio.
This follows the announcement of another major advance in the battle to eradicate polio, when Rotary and its Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners announced on World Polio Day (24 October 2019) that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide.
This meant that two of the three strains of the disease had now been eliminated, an important marker in the long fight against this maiming, and often fatal, disease.
WPV3 is only the third infectious, human disease-causing pathogen to be eradicated in history, following smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2.
The announcement came on the heels of recent news that Nigeria has gone three years without a case of wild poliovirus, which means that the entire African region could be certified wild poliovirus-free in 2020.
“Even as we’re addressing major challenges in Pakistan and Afghanistan, we continue to make historic progress that shows us that eradication is possible.” said Michael K. McGovern, Chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee.
Since Rotary and its partners launched the GPEI over 30 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9%, from around 350,000 cases a year in 125 countries to just 33 cases in 2018. By October 2019, there had been 88 cases of polio reported in the two remaining countries where the disease is prevalent; Pakistan (72 cases) and Afghanistan (16).
Like most Rotary Clubs around the globe, Cranleigh Rotary has donated thousands of pounds over the years towards this remarkable campaign.
See the Tweet from the World Health Organisation here: http://bit.ly/36jOvdH